Nothing has exploded yet

December 30, 2011

I am very grateful to say that nothing has exploded yet.  But I have learned some interesting things.

One – Champagne yeast fizzes up very slowly so it’s not like bread that doubles up in a few hours.  This is good because it means no explosions… yet.

Two – It’s yeast, so there is a bread-y taste to the root beer.  That’s just how these things are.  Apparently there is some kind of liquid yeast that has a cleaner taste but I’d have to track that down.

Three – There is a great deal to be said for small batches while you are finding your feet.  If things go south you really don’t want to have to dump a whole lot and it’s not like there’s all that much work involved… although sterilizing things takes a very long time.

Four – Ginger Beer, Ginger Beer, Ginger Beer…. that’s what is on tap next.

Five – If I scale down to smaller batches then I’m going to need a smaller bucket for mixing.

That’s the report from the home soda shop.



Are we taking bets?

December 29, 2011

I’m bottling my first batch of root beer tonight.  Anyone want to place a bet that something explodes before this is all over?  Because I’m pretty sure something is going to go horribly awry.

I made a 2.5 gallon batch with my Gnome extract and all my kits from More Beer.  That’s 24 bottles of root beer.  I’m going old school.  Glass bottles, champagne yeast… this is dangerous stuff.

I even made labels…

So everyone keep your fingers crossed.  Otherwise I’m going to be cleaning for months!


How many do you need?

December 28, 2011

I’ve spent the last few days reading through my cooking magazines and I’ve got a question… how many meatball recipes do you need?

Once you have a base recipes for anything, do you need to keep collecting them?

I did tear out a recipe for Swedish meatballs but only because I know my recipe for Italian meatballs like the back of my hand.

Because I have a recipe for macaroni and cheese I didn’t bother to pull any of them… even though there are many.

Maybe that’s why cooking magazines are so popular.  Because you need to find that one recipe that will see you through all the times to come.  And once you find that one recipe you don’t need any others.

These days, I don’t think I need that many cooking magazines.  I’ve got most of the basic recipes.

Everything else is gravy.


a cup of coffee

December 17, 2011

How many ounces do you think are in a cup of coffee?  I’m asking because my world view has been shifted recently.

I thought a standard cup would be the same as the measurement for a cup of cooking liquid.  8 ounces.

But I was looking at my french presses and that’s not the measurement they use.  I have a 3 cup french press that makes 12 ounces and an 8 cup french press that makes 34 ounces…. and those numbers seem very odd to me.

I know I drink more coffee than I should but if cups of coffee are measured in approximately 4 ounce increments then I’m really in trouble.

Has this occurred to anyone else or is it just me?

I believe in presentation

October 31, 2011

I was chatting with Hannah last week and I asked her if she wanted me to bring her some lunch on Sunday.  She said sure… chef’s choice.

Yeah… I just said I’d make lunch for a girl with a masters in food anthropology from Columbia who is a killer caterer and working on opening a food establishment in the East Bay.  What exactly was I thinking?

Okay… go big or go home, right?

So I made vegetable stock in the pressure cooker and then roasted the squash and made squash puree and then made squash risotto with parmesan crisps and crispy fried pancetta from the Local Butcher Shop.

I could not have been happier with the result.

Pretty, right?

This is how I roll.


first time for everything

October 29, 2011

Today I cut a large winter squash in half the safe and easy way… for the first time.

Thank goodness Frank got me a Chinese cleaver for my birthday a few years ago… and I’m always looking for more uses for my mallet.

Just make sure you get purchase into the squash with the cleaver then carefully tap, tap, tap with the mallet.

It split perfectly.  And I didn’t once feel that I was in danger of loosing a finger… BONUS!

Then I peeled and diced one half and roasted the other to make puree.

Tomorrow I’m going to make squash risotto with my lovely fresh squash ingredients.  I even made my own vegetable broth in my pressure cooker.

It’s been a while since I’ve done something to stretch myself in a culinary way.  This should be good.


$4 worth of happiness

September 22, 2011

I know all the stats about how much money you waste over the course of a year getting a latte a day.

Heck – I bought an espresso maker so that I wouldn’t feel the need to stop for coffee every day.  And I have used it a LOT.  But recently…. I get so much JOY from my morning latte.

Sure I could make it myself.  But I don’t want to.  I want to give my $4 to Cafe Milano and have the guys there make me a lovely caramel latte with a smiley face on the top.

Is that so wrong?

It’s my money after all.

And I’m supporting the local economy.